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Are Children "Normal"?

Author

Listed:
  • Black, Dan A.

    (University of Chicago)

  • Kolesnikova, Natalia

    (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

  • Sanders, Seth G.

    (Cornell University)

  • Taylor, Lowell J.

    (Carnegie Mellon University)

Abstract

We examine Becker's (1960) contention that children are "normal." For the cross section of non-Hispanic white married couples in the U.S., we show that when we restrict comparisons to similarly-educated women living in similarly-expensive locations, completed fertility is positively correlated with the husband's income. The empirical evidence is consistent with children being "normal." In an effort to show causal effects, we analyze the localized impact on fertility of the mid-1970s increase in world energy prices – an exogenous shock that substantially increased men's incomes in the Appalachian coal-mining region. Empirical evidence for that population indicates that fertility increases in men's income.

Suggested Citation

  • Black, Dan A. & Kolesnikova, Natalia & Sanders, Seth G. & Taylor, Lowell J., 2011. "Are Children "Normal"?," IZA Discussion Papers 5959, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5959
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Larry E. Jones & Michele Tertilt, 2006. "An Economic History of Fertility in the U.S.: 1826-1960," NBER Working Papers 12796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Mary Borg, 1989. "The Income-Fertility Relationship: Effect of the Net Price of a Child," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 26(2), pages 301-310, May.
    3. Dan Black & Terra McKinnish & Seth Sanders, 2005. "The Economic Impact Of The Coal Boom And Bust," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(503), pages 449-476, April.
    4. Gary S. Becker & H. Gregg Lewis, 1974. "Interaction between Quantity and Quality of Children," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 81-90, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-1278, December.
    6. Hotz, V Joseph & Miller, Robert A, 1988. "An Empirical Analysis of Life Cycle Fertility and Female Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 91-118, January.
    7. Dan Black & Kermit Daniel & Seth Sanders, 2002. "The Impact of Economic Conditions on Participation in Disability Programs: Evidence from the Coal Boom and Bust," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 27-50, March.
    8. Willis, Robert J, 1973. "A New Approach to the Economic Theory of Fertility Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 14-64, Part II, .
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    economics of fertility; location choice; Appalachian fertility;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J40 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - General

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